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Turlock Town Center sees new life
Turlock Town Center
The Turlock Town Center, located at the intersection of North Golden State Boulevard and Geer Road, has seen a recent resurgence. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Before Monte Vista Crossings became Turlock’s go-to retail hub, the Turlock Town Center served as one of the community’s largest, most-frequented shopping pads. After struggling in the years that followed the loss of several large retailers, the longstanding shopping center is now bouncing back thanks to the addition of new tenants, renovations and a supportive community.

The Turlock Town Center, located at the intersection of North Golden State Boulevard and Geer Road, was built in 1986, providing the city with over 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The building consists of 10 buildings with 37 units and 600 parking spaces.

While some large anchor stores, like Rite Aid and the 99-Cent Store, have continued to thrive in recent years, success hasn’t always been the case for businesses in the Turlock Town Center.

“I think the Turlock Town Center speaks to that whole ‘evolution’ of retail and how it changes,” said City of Turlock Director of Economic Development and Housing Maryn Pitt. “Originally, it was a grocery store-anchored center, and by no fault of its own but through a change in retail atmosphere, some of the big tenants have left. It’s hard to attract other big tenants when you’ve got tenants leaving. But, that’s no one’s fault because Albertson’s sold out.”

Albertsons served as one of the town’s most popular grocery stores before closing nearly 15 years ago, when the chain announced it would shut down 165 underperforming stores spread across 25 states. However, with the loss of the grocery store came the 99-Cent Store, as the shop now sits in Albertsons’ former location.

Corporate economic decline also affected one of the center’s popular teen clothing retailers in the years following Albertsons’ closure. In 2009, Anchor Blue went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed over 50 stores, including its Turlock Town Center location.

Many other stores have left the center over the years, including the losses of Mexican restaurant El Rosal, which made a move across town to a larger location near Monte Vista Crossings, and most recently, lease-to-own retailer Aaron’s.

In 2015, the Turlock Town Center’s leasing agency CORE Commercial reported that the vacancy rate of the center was at 34 percent. Despite the center’s ownership changing several times since then, its vacancy rate has approved, sitting at about 30 percent now, said Pitt.

The Turlock Town Center has seen a surge in incoming businesses that appear to have found success, including Pho 7 Anh, Valley Smoke Shop, Paletalandia and most recently, Rainbow Fabrics. Soon, Jura’s Pizza Parlor will be added into the mix.

“The pho place was just permitted to do a microbrewery, so there are some tenants that are doing some cool things. (The shopping center) is coming back,” said Pitt.

Pitt pointed out that the City of Turlock as a whole only has a two percent vacancy rate, meaning that any future businesses hoping to open will likely only have the Turlock Town Center to choose from. The space is perfect for first time business owners, she added, as the center allows Class B tenants – more “mom and pop” centered businesses, rather than the Class A chain tenants that Monte Vista Crossings searches for.

“This is a good center with all kinds of varied space. I’d love to see it someday filled,” said Pitt.

Pho 7 Anh has been a tenant at the Turlock Town Center for almost a year, said owner Brock Chanthakone. He also owns Lovely Nails, which is located in the Turlock Town Center on the opposite end of his restaurant. Chanthakone chose the shopping center because of its conveniently large parking lot, he said, and is excited to see the increased flow of traffic as more businesses move in.

“It brings in more people and more customers as other shops open up, which is important because we’re kind of hidden over here,” said Chanthakone.

Jura’s Pizza Parlor has endured multiple moves during its nearly 40-year tenure in Turlock, but owner Papiola Aghassi hopes that the restaurant’s next location will be its last.

The new Jura’s will be located where Sherwin Williams used to operate in the Turlock Town Center, bringing a new, modern dining option to the center. But while the food and service will mirror its origins, Jura’s is looking to update and revamp its aesthetic and atmosphere with a complete redesign.

Aghassi hopes that the approaching February move for Jura’s will only continue the upward trend of growth for the Turlock Town Center.

“I think in a couple of years, you’re going to see the shopping center back to its former glory,” she said.